Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The real deal in New Zealand

After a week of speed training in Hutt, it was finally time to check out this highly anticipated ski cross track in Cardrona. After two weather days over the weekend, I had some serious cabin fever and couldn’t wait to get up onto the mountain. 30cm of fresh heavy snow meant we had a fair bit of work to do on the course. Shovelling, raking, shaping and more shovelling! It took over 15 coaches, athletes and mountain staff and about five hours to dig out the track. All worth it for the following day though! We had blue skies and a full-length track to train on.

Anders Forsell (border cross World Cup and World Championship course builder) has been flown down from Sweden to build our very own course in Cardrona. The course is technical, the berms are big, and the jumps are even bigger. It definitely compares to any World Cup course I’ve skied on the tour in terms of difficulty and skill level required. For me the scariest part of the course was hitting the 50ft kicker in the middle with little speed, meaning that you had to give it a good pop to make the landing.

Today is yet another weather day unfortunately, with gale force winds closing the chairlift up on the mountain. So instead we went mountainbike riding in the hills this morning with all the Aussie athletes (ski cross and border cross). Definitely much more fun than sitting inside waiting for the weather to improve! Fingers crossed we’re on snow tomorrow. Now that I’ve skied the course and shaken off the nerves, all I want is to get back up there again! 

(The team hard at work on the ski cross track)

(New Zealand's weather being indecisive...) 

(Berm 4)

(Just a bit excited to ski the track)

(The start section) 

(The crew on the summit) 

(Mountainbiking with a view of Lake Wanaka) 

(Traffic in New Zealand)